Last month, I had the opportunity to revisit one of my very favorite vacation destinations in Great Exuma, Bahamas. I first visited with my family earlier this year & somehow knew I’d be coming back sooner than later. Coincidentally, the “time” came to be in the middle of October – right before our big move too. If anything, I needed this moment of R&R to mentally prepare for the next week to follow with moving. So I asked my sister and her boyfriend if they would like to join myself & my boyfriend on this 4-day mini vacation, which naturally they replied, “Hell yeah!”
Based on our first experience, my sister and I knew how we wanted to spend these 4 days – 3 days relaxing at the resort & lying on the beach and 1 day out on the boat for a private tour of the neighboring islands & snorkeling. The boys have never been to this part of The Bahamas, so we wanted to have at least one day out on the water to experience all there is to see in these gorgeous waters while still sticking to our original plan of lounging out with “zero work commitments” – using that term loosely because we all had to login at one point.
WHERE WE STAYED
GRAND ISLE RESORT
There’s undoubtably no other resort I’d rather stay at or recommend when visiting Exuma. Perfect for a couples getaway or a kid-friendly trip for the family, Grand Isle Resort is a destination full of attainable luxury that meets the vibe of feeling like home, with each villa offering a full-size kitchen and living room to suit your needs. We stayed in one of the beautiful 3-bedroom villas overlooking Emerald Bay (#1311 to be exact – highly recommend requesting a unit ending with 11 in villa buildings 10-14; best views by far as you can see below.)
Grand Isle feels like a private community on the beach, complete with an infinity pool, spa, 24-hr fitness center, tiki bar and restaurant offering Bahamian cuisine on-site. The property happens to be surrounded by the championship 18-hole golf course of Emerald Reef Golf Club. You can also take advantage of the golf cart path by using it as a 2-mile loop of a running path, which I highly recommend doing first thing in the morning before it gets too hot…from experience.
Although it’s only been a few months since our first time staying at Grand Isle, a lot has changed at the resort which made this couples trip exciting for all four of us. Unlike my previous post that recapped more on the food options outside the resort, I wanted to highlight two parts of our trip that made this one all the more reason we’ll be making our stay at Grand Isle an annual thing.
BEACH CLUB + RESTAURANT
Grand Isle recently opened this 30,000 sq ft beach club on its property, featuring a new fine dining restaurant experience, an oceanfront infinity pool (complete with lounge chairs IN THE POOL) and unrivaled views of the Emerald Bay Beach. The pool is for adults only (yay!) and there’s a full bar located on-site as well.
The 23° North restaurant offers Asian-Bahamian fusion cuisine, which I can honestly say was OUT OF THIS WORLD. We shared a variety of seafood & meat plates, which I’m still drooling thinking about. After dinner, we sat outside by the fire pits on the patio of the beach club and listened to the calming sounds of mini waves crashing onto the shore.
*Note: Dinner is served Fridays & Saturdays only and a reservation is required.
SUN FUN TOURS
PRIVATE BOAT TOUR EXPLORING THE CAYS OF EXUMA
This was our second time renting a private boat tour with Sun Fun Tours and I think it’s safe to say we possibly had more fun this time around! We booked a half day tour, which went from 12:30pm – 5pm and made some familiar stops along the way, including visiting the Swimming Pigs, Iguana Island, and Blow Hole Beach. Although we didn’t get to swim with the sharks this time, I think the boys were a bit relieved not to be forced to do so (lol).
What made this tour different than our first were two new stops; 1) A different island of swimming pigs, and 2) Snorkeling at a Blue Hole (an underwater sunken cave.) These pigs were much friendlier than the other island from January & we even got to see/swim with multiple rays too! As for the snorkeling, that was frankly just unbelievable. We saw another ray as large as a tractor trailer tire (no joke) & a very curious barracuda that kept a watchful eye on us as we explored his territory.